ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Trip Planning > Americas
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 04-29-2012, 10:06 PM   #1
TonyBKK OP
Secret Soi Rider
 
TonyBKK's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: The Big Mango, Bangkok, Thailand
Oddometer: 842
Best mobile internet device for touring in the US?

I'm planning a two month ride across the US and am wondering what you all recommend for the best device for connecting to the internet while on the road.

I'd like to be able to check email, do a bit of browsing, and of course be able to access and post on advrider

We'll be riding from Minnesota to California via South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon and spending most of our trip in National Parks and rural areas. I imagine 3G/4G isn't available much outside of big cities but hopefully I can still check email over slower networks or find Wi-Fi hotspots.

I have an Apple iPad2 that rocks. It does everything I need except for Apple's annoying refusal to play Flash. Annoying, but I can live with it. But I bought my iPad in Thailand and am not 100% sure I can connect to a US data network... International data roaming is prohibitively expensive.



If I bring my iPad to the US I'll need to sign up for a 4G data plan.

It seems in the US that iPad owners must choose between AT&T and Verizon for 4G service. I will only be in the US for 2 months and do NOT want to sign up for any long term contract.

A quick search seems to indicate that Verizon offers faster and more expensive data coverage than AT&T and it would appear that you can purchase data plans month by month with no long term contract-

Prepaid Mobile Broadband Plans

Pay as you go. That way you only pay for the data you really need.
Tablets Monthly Access
1GB Monthly Data Allowance $20
2GB Monthly Data Allowance $30
5GB Monthly Data Allowance $50
10GB Monthly Data Allowance $80
No Reconnection fees, and no overage charges. Tablet plans not available on all tablet models.

Overage: $10.00/GB (Overage changes occur when you exceed your plan's monthly allowance.)

OK, well, it seems maybe I've answered my own question I think I'll just bring my iPad and sign up for a couple months of data coverage with Verizon.

When I'm in areas that have no coverage hopefully I can sniff out some Wi-Fi hotspots.

Does this sound like a good plan? Would love to hear any suggestions or advice!

Happy Trails!

Tony
__________________
Live To Ride, Ride To Live!
2010 KLX Bill Blue 351
2005 Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K6
2011 Kawasaki VERSYS!
2005 BMW K1200LT
TonyBKK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2012, 10:26 PM   #2
rodr
Studly Adventurer
 
rodr's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Fairfield, CA, USA
Oddometer: 571
My experience is that camping and mobile broadband don't mix very well in the U.S. When I was on the road for 2 1/2 weeks last summer, when camping I'd generally stop at a MacDonald's or Starbucks for my daily Internet fix. Almost all of them have wi-fi. Even easier when you opt for a hotel room.

Re devices, it just depends on what you are comfortable with. I use a netbook computer; gotta have my mouse and keyboard!
rodr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2012, 10:40 PM   #3
Chillout
n00b
 
Joined: Apr 2012
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Oddometer: 2
MiFi is the way

Hey Tony,

Chances are you won't be able to get anything from Verizon or AT&T directly without at least a one year contract. But nevermind that, all you need is to find an outfit that rents MiFi units running on these 3G or 4G networks and you'll be good to go.

I've used a firm named WiFiRents.com for the past two summers (the last one with an iPad) in the States, rode 7,000 miles across the country and back and had a signal every single time I turned the unit on. I've also rented them in London, Tokyo and Seoul and they've all worked flawlessly with the iPad.

Your Google keyword is MiFi. Find an outfit that rents MiFi's where you're heading- they come in several shapes and sizes -and chances are they'll ship it direct to you on arrival.
Chillout is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2012, 12:05 AM   #4
TwoShots
Vagabond
 
TwoShots's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Cedar City, Utah
Oddometer: 1,448
Thumb

Quote:
Originally Posted by rodr View Post
...when camping I'd generally stop at a MacDonald's ...


20 or 30 minutes with a cup of coffee. Free is good.
TwoShots is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2012, 12:18 AM   #5
TonyBKK OP
Secret Soi Rider
 
TonyBKK's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: The Big Mango, Bangkok, Thailand
Oddometer: 842
Quote:
Originally Posted by rodr View Post
My experience is that camping and mobile broadband don't mix very well in the U.S. When I was on the road for 2 1/2 weeks last summer, when camping I'd generally stop at a MacDonald's or Starbucks for my daily Internet fix. Almost all of them have wi-fi. Even easier when you opt for a hotel room.

Re devices, it just depends on what you are comfortable with. I use a netbook computer; gotta have my mouse and keyboard!
Cheers Rod!

Yeah, I know about the comfort of a keyboard and mouse and I travelled extensively with a little Acer netbook that served me well for years, but I'm finding I can do just about everything on the iPad that I could on the netbook, but it's lighter, boots up WAY faster, and the battery lasts a lot longer.

While McD and Starbucks could work, I'll be traveling with my son and doubt he'd be very patient while daddy checks his emails so I'd prefer to surf in the evenings after he's asleep.

I may have to forgo internet while we're in the National Parks and get my fix on the days when we'll be in hotels.

Thanks for your help!

Tony
__________________
Live To Ride, Ride To Live!
2010 KLX Bill Blue 351
2005 Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K6
2011 Kawasaki VERSYS!
2005 BMW K1200LT
TonyBKK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2012, 12:23 AM   #6
TonyBKK OP
Secret Soi Rider
 
TonyBKK's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: The Big Mango, Bangkok, Thailand
Oddometer: 842
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chillout View Post
Hey Tony,

Chances are you won't be able to get anything from Verizon or AT&T directly without at least a one year contract. But nevermind that, all you need is to find an outfit that rents MiFi units running on these 3G or 4G networks and you'll be good to go.

I've used a firm named WiFiRents.com for the past two summers (the last one with an iPad) in the States, rode 7,000 miles across the country and back and had a signal every single time I turned the unit on. I've also rented them in London, Tokyo and Seoul and they've all worked flawlessly with the iPad.

Your Google keyword is MiFi. Find an outfit that rents MiFi's where you're heading- they come in several shapes and sizes -and chances are they'll ship it direct to you on arrival.
Thanks for the link!

Cool product, but at $384 for a 2 month rental I find it a bit pricey...

I get the impression that I might be able to sign up for a pre-paid mobile broadband plan with Verizon that seems quite reasonable:

Prepaid Mobile Broadband Plans

Pay as you go. That way you only pay for the data you really need.

Tablets Monthly Access
1GB Monthly Data Allowance $20
2GB Monthly Data Allowance $30
5GB Monthly Data Allowance $50
10GB Monthly Data Allowance $80
No Reconnection fees, and no overage charges. Tablet plans not available on all tablet models.

Overage: $10.00/GB (Overage changes occur when you exceed your plan's monthly allowance.)

Link: http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/p...obileBroadband

I'll need to call Verizon to confirm that I can sign up for this plan.

Ride On!

Tony
__________________
Live To Ride, Ride To Live!
2010 KLX Bill Blue 351
2005 Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K6
2011 Kawasaki VERSYS!
2005 BMW K1200LT
TonyBKK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2012, 02:01 AM   #7
Witold
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jul 2004
Oddometer: 661
This might be a silly question, but do you actually plan to mostly camp? I guess it's implied in the post?

Because if you plan to stay in motels/hotels, they will have wifi readily available, usually at no extra charge. Since you're on ~10 hour time difference, you probably won't be getting any urgent emails from Thailand that are written in the middle of the night so having access throughout the day is probably of limited benefit.

Lastly, I think there are now pre-paid providers selling access at Best Buy/7-11 just like they sell prepaid sell phones... I'm not sure about this, but I think that's what I saw. Can someone confirm?
Witold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2012, 05:59 AM   #8
Garp
Beastly Adventurer
 
Garp's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2003
Location: Newtown, CT
Oddometer: 2,440
There is a fair amount of mis-information in this thread, so here are some points to consider:

1) All iPads are sold unlocked, they aren't tied to a carrier, so you can switch carriers as long as you have the correct hardware for your carrier of choice

2) Verizon and AT&T are NOT interchangeable, they use different frequencies for 4G LTE and different technologies for 3G (Verizon uses CDMA, AT&T uses GSM)

3) I don't know what technology is used in Thailand, but strongly suspect it is GSM as used by 95% of the world, so you will probably be limited to AT&T as a national carrier

4) As iPad are not subsidized by the carriers, they don't require any commitment in terms of data plans, you can go month to month only paying when needed.

5) Assuming your hardware supports GSM, you can buy an AT&T Sim card for $15 http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-pho...id=qa0r7w8PsSV
Garp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2012, 12:27 PM   #9
TonyBKK OP
Secret Soi Rider
 
TonyBKK's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: The Big Mango, Bangkok, Thailand
Oddometer: 842
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garp View Post
There is a fair amount of mis-information in this thread, so here are some points to consider:

1) All iPads are sold unlocked, they aren't tied to a carrier, so you can switch carriers as long as you have the correct hardware for your carrier of choice

2) Verizon and AT&T are NOT interchangeable, they use different frequencies for 4G LTE and different technologies for 3G (Verizon uses CDMA, AT&T uses GSM)

3) I don't know what technology is used in Thailand, but strongly suspect it is GSM as used by 95% of the world, so you will probably be limited to AT&T as a national carrier

4) As iPad are not subsidized by the carriers, they don't require any commitment in terms of data plans, you can go month to month only paying when needed.

5) Assuming your hardware supports GSM, you can buy an AT&T Sim card for $15 http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-pho...id=qa0r7w8PsSV

Ah! Outstanding information! Thank you very much!

I remember how onerous AT&T's monopoly of the iPhone was back in the day and how the iPhones sold in the US were all "locked" to only work on AT&T's network.

Good to know the iPad is free of such restrictions.

I'm thinking I'll buy a the new iPad before this trip and give the iPad 2 I have now to my son. The technical specs for the new iPad say it supports all of the following mobile technologies and standards:

  • UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA
    (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz);
    GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • 4G LTE (700, 2100MHz);1

So I think I can use either a Verizon or AT&T SIM card once I arrive in the US?

Appreciate the link for buying the AT&T SIM card- thanks a bunch!
__________________
Live To Ride, Ride To Live!
2010 KLX Bill Blue 351
2005 Suzuki GSX-R 1000 K6
2011 Kawasaki VERSYS!
2005 BMW K1200LT
TonyBKK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2012, 01:00 PM   #10
Garp
Beastly Adventurer
 
Garp's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2003
Location: Newtown, CT
Oddometer: 2,440
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBKK View Post
  • UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA
    (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz);
    GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • 4G LTE (700, 2100MHz);1

So I think I can use either a Verizon or AT&T SIM card once I arrive in the US?

Appreciate the link for buying the AT&T SIM card- thanks a bunch!
You'd be better off going with AT&T. The LTE bands used by Verizon are different, and I'm not sure if the iPad hardware can receive all bands. I do know that the hardware will not receive any 3G coverage on Verizon as they use CDMA for 3G, which the Global iPad hardware does not support. AT&T uses HSPA/UMTS and GSM frequencies supported by the iPad.
Garp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2012, 05:42 PM   #11
Thanantos
Ride hard.
 
Thanantos's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Michigan
Oddometer: 3,654
I'd check the coverage maps. Where you are going is sparsely populated and subsequently coverage will probably NOT be very good (especially with ATT).

IMHO, you'd be better off just hitting coffee shops, McDonalds, Starbucks, etc for free WIFI, but its your money.
__________________
2013 V-Strom
Thanantos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2012, 06:17 PM   #12
_cy_
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Oddometer: 5,875
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thanantos View Post
I'd check the coverage maps. Where you are going is sparsely populated and subsequently coverage will probably NOT be very good (especially with ATT).

IMHO, you'd be better off just hitting coffee shops, McDonalds, Starbucks, etc for free WIFI, but its your money.
there's McDonalds in all but the smallest towns
_cy_ is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 09:47 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014